My mom’s rocky road cookies are soft, chewy chocolate marshmallow cookies with crunchy nuts. This recipe makes fantastic Christmas cookies!
Holiday cookie baking time is upon us, and there are a few tried and true recipes that I make every year. They aren’t necessarily what you might call traditional Christmas cookies, but baking them is a tradition in my house for sure.
Mom’s rocky road cookies
These are super soft chocolate pecan cookies, with melted marshmallows blended into the dough, They have a rich chocolate flavor, plus chewy goodness from the marshmallow and oats.
I usually like to double this recipe, bake them all, then freeze half and eat the rest. They keep well in the freezer for a few months, so you can share them with a sweetie on Valentine’s Day.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
This recipe starts with the typical cast of ingredients for homemade cookies. All purpose flour, both white and brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda.
- Butter– The recipe card for my mom’s rocky road cookies says she used Crisco shortening. I prefer to use butter instead.
- Rolled oats– Be sure to use either old fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats. Do not use packets of instant oatmeal; the grains are crushed too much.
- Chocolate– You can use milk chocolate, semi-sweet, or dark; it’s your preference. Keep in mind though; the darker the chocolate is, the less sweet your cookies will be. Because you’ll be melting it, you can use chocolate chips or chunks. If you want, you could even chop up a bar of chocolate.
- Mini marshmallows– I use mini marshmallows but you should know that this recipe is a bit different from most chocolate marshmallow cookies. Rather than stirring the marshmallows into the cookie dough, they are melted with the chocolate.
So, if all you have on hand are regular size marshmallows, they’ll work just fine. To help them melt, just cut them in half, or even into quarters.
Flat cookies vs fat cookies
I used quick-cooking oats when I baked the cookies this time. Old fashioned rolled oats will keep the cookies from spreading quite as much as you see in the photos.
This is because whole oats absorb more liquid than crushed oats, which is what quick cooking oats are.
Do you prefer traditional Christmas cookie recipes?
Plan to be rockin’ around the Christmas tree with batches of Mexican wedding cookies (aka, almond crescents), smoky gingersnap cookies, or Greek honey cookies!
Option: Sheet pan chocolate marshmallow cookies
Instead of individual cookies, you can spread the dough onto TWO buttered and floured jelly roll pans, for sheet pan cookies.
NOTE: If you choose this option, you’ll need to add a few extra minutes of cooking time. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center. When it comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs, it’s time to pull them from the oven.
Tips for making rocky road cookies
- Be sure the butter is cold, but softened. You don’t want it completely at room temperature or it may melt from the heat of the stand mixer.
- Bring eggs to room temperature. This is important! If the egg is cold, it can cause the chocolate marshmallow mixture to seize up (harden).
- Allow the chocolate marshmallow mixture to cool slightly. Hot liquids and cold eggs do not make for the best Christmas cookies!
Cooling the chocolate mixture ensures that you don’t end up with scrambled egg in your rocky road cookies.
- Chill the dough to prevent cookies from spreading as much. 20 to 30 minutes is fine, or up to an hour if you’re able.
This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Jan. 28, 2013, was last updated with new content on Nov. 12, 2021.
Mom’s Rocky Road Cookies
- 3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup butter softened but cold (See Note 1)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped pecans or peanuts
- In a large saucepan melt the marshmallows, chocolate pieces and water over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
- Add remaining ingredients except the oats and pecans to stand mixer bowl. Pour melted chocolate and marshmallow mixture, turn on low and blend. If you don't have a mixer, doing this by hand is a workout, but the payoff is an amazing cookie!
- Next, slowly add the oats and pecans and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to firm dough.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.
- Mom’s original recipe used 1/2 cup Crisco, but I substituted with butter.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.